What the world’s best pipers are playing: a pipes|drums Survey
Bass Drone Reed
Henderson cane bass reeds came in first, with seven (24%) preferring these reeds. Canning, Henderson Harmonic and Rocket each were chosen by four pipers. Thus, Henderson Reedmakers outfitted 11 (38%) of A-Grade bagpipes with bass reeds at Oban and Inverness. Only one listing was in “Other,” for a bass reed made by Cam Keating.
Tenor Drone Reeds
Ezeedrone again reigns supreme in the tenor drone reed category, with 19 (65%) going with them – another commanding lead over the rest. Canning tenor reeds were chosen second-most, with three (10%) playing them, and Selbie synthetic were named by two. The rest selected were by one piper each, and Cam Keating was again the only write-in under “Other.”
More A-Grade pipers played natural bags, with Begg sheepskin being the first choice overall (11, 38%). Bannatyne Synthetic was played by six (21%), and Ross Synthetic by five (17%). Gannaway leather and Thompson sheepskin were written in once under “Other.” Overall, 55% of A-Grade respondents played a bag made of sheepskin or natural hide.
A Basic Tube Trap was the choice of 12 (41%) of A-Grade pipers, while the Ross Canister system was selected by 11 (38%). Unlike the Premier-Grade respondents, none of whom said they don’t use a moisture system, three A-Grade pipers said they went with nothing at Oban and Inverness. Of the three that checked “Other,” one said that he/she uses a Ross Canister and a Basic Tube Trap in combination and two said they use the Achiltibuie system, which made Achiltibuie the second-most-popular moisture control system.
So for A-Grade pipers, the average preferred bagpipe was made up of vintage Henderson drones and a Naill blackwood chanter with a Donald MacPhee chanter reed. He/she would play a Henderson cane bass drone reed in combination with Ezeedrone tenor reeds, with a Begg sheepskin bag with a basic tube trap.